Over the Fence Chat (July 20th-26th)

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Beyond the Sidewalks : One Thread

Good (??) Monday morning, everyone!!

Just checkin' in to say Hi!! I've just penned up some of my meat chickens in some clean shavings and now I'm waiting for them to "clean up" a little before I go out and start lopping off heads!!! I hate handling them when their feet and belly feathers are covered with sh**! Since we lost our last dog, there's nothing to deter the weasels or raccoons and I've lost almost half of this batch of meat chicks...although some have died 'cause they just couldn't take the heat we've had this summer. So the other day I set up my incubator and I've put in 24 buff orpington/araucana eggs to raise as small fryers. They wont be as meaty, but it's alot better than buying that stuff in the grocery stores :-)!!

We spent the whole weekend out boating. Left here Sat. a.m. and headed for Islesboro. We drove all around the island (about 70 nautical mi. all totalled) and stopped at Lincolnville beach for awhile to watch the ferry go back and forth shuttling people and cars. Tried to pick out John Travolta's house on Islesboro...but no luck. Most of the water out there is over 200 ft. deep! Just managed to get back into Castine Harbor before a major fog bank moved in Saturday night. That stuff can be quite dangerous...especially if you don't have a mapping GPS system on your boat...and we don't! By the time we tied up to our mooring, we couldn't see the bow of our boat. BUT...the fishing was great! We caught a dozen almost immediately. Couldn't get them off the hooks fast enough!! Lots of fun! We threw three on the B-B-cue and put the rest on ice. Good-sized mackeral...and I still hold the "record" for my 16"!!! The fog still hadn't lifted Sunday morning, so we just spent most of the day at the dock hooked up to shore power and cleaned the boat!! Had to leave the boat early yesterday afternoon. It was my MIL'S birthday so we took her out to dinner last night.

My second batch of beans (royal burgundy) popped up almost overnight!! I'm really amazed at how good the garden is doing after the damp, cool spring we had. Even the watermelon has tiny little fruits on the vines!!! So how's everyone else's garden doing??

Last week I went to a local "pick your own" strawberry farm and picked 6 qts. Gave some to my MIL and also made a couple of batches of strawberry jam!! Mmmmm! Wont be long before the blueberries are ripe, although it's been a dry summer here so most growers aren't expecting a very good harvest.

My mom has FINALLY gotten the okay from all of her doctor's for a hip transplant. She's having the spinal block instead of general anethesia because of her weak heart. I just pray she can deal with all the "body work" that's gonna be happening!!!! The date is set for Aug. 29th. Not long after that she has to be in court for the lawsuit she's involved in. The reason she has to have this hip transplant is because of a hip fracture a couple of years age when she fell at a local store. Seems like a couple other people have fallen at this store and now they've all gotten together for this lawsuit! She's going through all this "stuff" alone because her husband has been in a nursing home for a year now...ever since his bleeding in the brain problem started! Getting old is such fun!!! But she's got a very upbeat attitude and is bound and determined NOT to spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair!

So Sherri...how's the moving going?? And E.M....when can we start ordering your pizza??? J.R....is Texas drying out yet?

Well, I hope some others can get a chance to drop in here...although I'm certainly not the one to pick on anyone about not posting, am I :-)??!! Have a wonderful week!!!!

-- Anonymous, July 21, 2003


Where to even start.....I feel like every day is two steps forward and one step back, but at least I'm moving forward. I just keep telling myself that it will be worth it when I'm finished.

All the rain this month has produced a bumper crop of mosquitos. I have to put on bug spray just to walk out the door to my car in the morning. Small children and pets need to be tied down so they don't get carried off! One pesky bugger flew up the leg of my shorts and bit me in an intimate spot, just try scratching there in public! We're thinking about getting one of those propane-powered mosquito zappers that's supposed to clear up to one acre. We're supposed to have the gang over next weekend for Lughnasa and I don't want to try to explain to the mosquitos that we Pagans don't do blood sacrifices anymore.

The basement waterproofing job that was supposed to take "4 days, 5 days tops" is now on day 7. The plan is to dig an 18" wide trench through the basement and garage floors around the perimeter of the house, drill weep holes in the bottom row of cememt blocks, install a french drain, and tie the drain into a sump pump. Whoever originally built this house must have owned a concrete factory because the slab for the basement floor is over a foot thick. The workers had to go rent some extra-strength jackhammers to bust through the slab but even so the going is very slow. There isn't a doorway on the stairs to the basement so now the entire house is coated in concrete dust. Even my black cat is now sort of grayish. She's a very fluffy long- haired cat and I'm thinking about changing her name to Swiffer.

When we hooked up the washer the pipes started leaking, and the gas line fittings for the dryer didn't match the gas line at the house. After 2 trips to Lowes and one visit from the plumber we finally got things working. Good thing, I was down to my last pair of undies. We never let the cats into the laundry room at the old house, here the washer and dryer are in the bathroom so we have no choice. Kira's newest favorite game is to jump behind the washer and then cry because she can't get back out.

Friday night I was going to cook dinner for the first time, turned on the oven and nothing happened. It's an ancient Magic Chef wall oven. I called the former owners to make sure the oven was supposed to work, she said she had used it the night before they moved out and it worked fine. The clock still works so it's getting electricity. I'm wondering if all the jackhammering in the basement jarred a connection loose. I have a repair guy scheduled tomorrow afternoon to take a look at it. I'm really hoping that it can be fixed. We are planning on replacing it someday but not right now.

Other than that the kitchen is doing better, other than the concrete dust coating (the basement stairs open into the kitchen so it gets the worst of it). The cabinets were cream-colored with gold hardware. I took them down and painted them white with silver hardware. Of course the silver hinges I bought didn't work. After a few more trips to the hardware store looking for hinges that would work, I ended up taking the original gold hinges and spray painting them silver. I pulled all of the old shelf paper out; 40-year old contact paper sticks like you wouldn't believe. I read that using a hairdryer to soften the adhesive works well, I found that beer and profanity work well too. (Actually they don't actually work that well on the contact paper but it did make me feel better while I was doing it).

I still want to do some painting and wallpapering, but that's going to have to wait until the dust settles. We met the neighbor lady yesterday and she seems sweet and there's a good pizza shop and a liquor store within 2 miles so it's not all bad.

-- Anonymous, July 21, 2003

As I mentioned elsewhere, we got back from San Juan Island and Orcas Island on Sunday night. Big piles of peoples waiting 10+ hours to get off-island on Sunday. Fortunately, Mr. S. and I had left our car on the mainland and walked on/off, so we managed to get back without worries. (Broken ferry in a high demand area).

Temperatures sustaining in the high 80s around here. We're into our dry period early and intensely this year. Going through water for livestock and gardens like crazy (especially with 20 new ducklings, new seedlings coming up, and new perennial additions). So I'll cut down on showers! Ha. I'm so sweaty and dirty every morning before I go to work! I get 2-4 hours in outside before having to come in and clean up in time to leave by 9:45.

Corn is shoulder high. Beans are lagging a bit (but then I always worry about them and then get inundated). Everything else is coming along pretty well. Our new (6 year old) apple trees are really producing, and we got cherries this year on our new bing and new van trees. Our big (40+ foot) cherry tree is loaded, and now the crows are getting to the fruit. I can't do everything, I know, I know. This working for a living isn't all it's cracked up to be!

Shearer coming (thank God) Saturday morning. When eveyone looks all tidied up, I'm going to advertise for some sheep sales!

Marcia, my very best to your mom. Keep us posted, ok? Adios

-- Anonymous, July 23, 2003

Hello!! Just thought I'd pop in and let you all know I'm still alive up here in humid Nova Scotia. The no see 'ems have me scratchin' these days and it looks awful at work to always be itchin' at something. This year the homestead is pretty barren. We have one Hereford heifer for beef this fall. I was supposed to have a ram lamb but the farm that got all my animal is still deciding who to keep and who to let go (argh). He's also been supposed to bring me lumber in exchange for the ewes and does. A fox got all my ducks, over half my guineas, and a lot of my chickens, including the infamous Sassafrass (Columbian Rock hen with prodigious appetite and personality galore). The garden is only about a quarter its usual size too. I just don't have it in me this year. i will have my biggest crop of garlic yet, though and I'm pretty darn pleased at that! Thanks to the war, Mad Cow, SARS, etc etc etc I haven't seen a whole lot of tourist trade at the shop. Finances are tight here at Hodge Podge Homestead so I'm slipping back into frugal mode, digging out my old cheapo recipes and cutting back spending etc . The boys are healthy and spend a lot of time bickering. Is it the heat or sibling rivalry? Hard to say sometimes. I know I have little tolerance when they get going and I think thats because of the humidity this summer. Its as good an excuse as any.:o) Marcia, when you coming over to NS? Way to go on the mackeral!!

-- Anonymous, July 23, 2003

Hey Alison!! It seems that you've been AWOL almost as much as I've been recently :-)!!!

You don't know how bad Harry and I want to take some time and head to N.S. I'm still keeping up regular correspondence with Bay Ferries LTD so I know what their best travel packages are. We want to take the "Cat" over and have been to Bar Harbor a couple of times to watch it!! The way things have been going, though, both with my mom and Harry's mom...well, traveling more than a few hours away is out of the question right now.

Don't ya just hate those "no see 'ems"!!!?? We've had more mosquitos here than normal, too. Very little rain so far this summer, but quite hot and humid. YUCK!!

That's too bad about the fox getting your feathered critters. And I hope your homestead isn't "barren" for too long!! How's the store doing??

Gee, Sherri! You and Alison could have a "scratching contest" :-)!! The no see 'em bites seem to itch intensely for awhile, but then the bite disappears. Mosquito bites last for days!!! You sound like you're having a string of bad luck with your new home. Makes ya wonder if you're fixing the previous owner's problems! That IS a plus about the pizza shop and liquor store being so close. Our closest are over 7 miles away!! Our pizza shop delivers...but the liquor store doesn't :-(!!!

Sheepish...I've told my mom in the past that I've received tons of great advice from this group here and she wanted me to say thanks to all of you!! If she had a computer I'm sure she'd be right here gabbing, also! Although...maybe that would NOT be a good thing :-)!!!

-- Anonymous, July 23, 2003

OK, so I'm a doofus! I paid a $55 sevice call just to have a repairman push a button on my oven. We don't have an owner's manual and couldn't find one on-line. Keith and I were messing around trying to set the clock last week and somehow we got the oven stuck in delayed baking never-never land. The repairman just pushed in the knob that's used to set the clock and now the oven works. D'oh. Well, at least it works now and we don't have to replace it.

The jackhammering in the basement is done, hooray! Now all that's left is to install the drain grate in front of the garage doors, let the concrete dry, and replace the basement stairs.

-- Anonymous, July 23, 2003

Great to hear from you Alison! Sherri, I really AM sorry for all your troubles. I have a feeling you may be experiencing some great stuff for a future book, however, and may think its all pretty funny in a few years!

-- Anonymous, July 23, 2003

I have to vent.

Bren had an appt ( I couldn't be there) with an accountant because the bank advised us to consult one about whether to put the new building in our names or the business's name for tax purposes.

So this &^%$! accountant (we have NEVER met an accountant we could stand or who hasn't gotten us in some kinda of problem!!) proceded to tell her, after going through our finances and business plan that the bank liked just fine, that we should walk away from the transaction. Walk away, lose our 6 grand deposit, and forget it. Cuz we don't have food manufacturing experience (duh). Cuz we won't have enough capital after the down payment and are too dependent on Bren's income for now. Because we didn't include disability insurance in our business plan (which will only include US for at least several months). Crap like that.

This woman is trying to kill my dream. Which is hard to do, but it isnt' hard to scare Bren, because I work my tail off constantly to keep her in the faith anyway, and I dont think she'll recover from this. The fear has been installed, by a professional dream killer. ( i am cryin now) and will be hard if not impossible to overcome. The seed has been planted. The dream killer wants me to come down and listen to her spiel, but I don't think I would be able to contain myself very well; I'll want to give her a tongue lashing.

More later. I'm going to go have a cry and then talk to my girls, who are always my inspiration. I have a terrible stomach ache. Thanks for listening.

-- Anonymous, July 25, 2003

Sounds like that accountant is feeding you and Bren a bunch of CRAP!! I say find another!!! There are tons of new businesses that start up everyday and the people operating them don't have much, if any, experience. And you don't need a whole heck of alot of capital to start a business...as long as you don't go "spending" crazy and you keep your overhead low. Many people thought we were crazy starting our garage business with practically no money, used equipment and operating out of a pole-building :-)!! Fifteen years later and we're still here and doing fine!!! As long as your bank approves you, and you did say they liked your plans, just go for it! Disability insurance??...hell, we just recently got accident insurance! We have no other type of medical insurance. Does your bank require any kind of insurance?? Tell Bren that I don't think that accountant knows her ass from her elbow :-)!!!

Remember...JUST DO IT!!

-- Anonymous, July 25, 2003

The bank's the one with the money on the line and if they're happy with the risk then that accountant can just go F-off! Would getting another opinion help Bren feel better? Maybe you could get someone from the SBA or SCORE to take a look at your business plan. The fact that you even have a business plan puts you ahead of at least 50% of the other small businesses starting this year.

Marcia, I got a Maine quarter in my change today. That boat on the back is yours, right? :)

Alison I'm glad you stopped by. Look at it this way, if you did have more animals and a larger garden you'd probably be going mad from over-work. Hopefully the tourist traffic at the store will pick up in August as everyone has one last trip before school starts again.

I've been writing a lot about all the stuff going wrong at the house, but don't worry because it's not all bad. We've only been here a couple of weeks but I already feel like I'm more present here than I ever was at the old house. That was a house but this feels like a home. In the physical world, I have so much more cabinet space in the kitchen now that I don't know how to fill all of it. The pantry is larger too. The basement is going to be really cool when we get it finished. The waterproofing is done and our next project is to rip out all of the drywall. This wasn't part of the original plan but we've had a lot of mold growth in the walls from the moisture. Besides, it will make it a lot easier to install some additional electrical outlets if the walls are down to the bare studs. I really like demolition so I'm looking forward to bashing walls with the sledgehammer. I think it will be great stress relief. :) Our neighbors are so sweet, they brought us homemade apple pie (still hot from the oven) and a half gallon of vanilla ice cream on Wednesday to welcome us to the house.

-- Anonymous, July 25, 2003

Sherri so glad things are going a little better with the house!! And don't ever think you have too much cabinet space, I said that when we moved in here and now I have no extra space and my Dad came over and redid my pantry with more shelves,and still could use more!!! LOL

Marcia hope everything goes well with you Mom!!! Man I'm jealous....blueberries. Here they have done gone out of season. I just can't seem to kick myself in gear to can and make some preserves. It seems like I have NO energy since the miscarriage.DR says it will take some time but my goodness I would think I would feel up to somethings!!

EM get another opionion. She seems like a B*tch!! Don't let anyone take your dreams away from you!!

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!!! Sandy

-- Anonymous, July 25, 2003

Sherri...nope, not our boat! We don't "do" sailboats. The one on the quarter is a 4-masted schooner. We have a Bayliner cabin cruiser...with a motor :-)!! Does anyone else here collect the state quarters??? We do. And for this year we're still missing Missouri and Arkansas. Sandy...thanx for the good wishes for my mom!! And DO NOT worry about not feeling up to doing anything yet!! Take your time to heal, you need it...both physically and emotionally!

-- Anonymous, July 26, 2003

Sherri, don't you loooove service calls? There is a company that does heating and cooling here and they have this wonderful flat rate for service calls. Supposed to be wonderful anyway. I called because our air con. at the shop wasn't cooling and got charged that WONDERFUL flat rate to be told its a fuse. The most expensive fuse I ever bought I'll tell you! Well over $100 and the SOB used MY fuse!!! Yeah, I learned my lesson that day. :o)

-- Anonymous, July 27, 2003

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